Social Media Continues its Relentless Pace to Try to Make You Stay Put

Social Media Continues its Relentless Pace to Try to Make You Stay Put

It’s a relentless pace out there. And much like the holidays accelerate the end of the year, and we suddenly look up on January 7th or so and wonder just what the hell just happened, social media is continuing to not so much reap the whirlwind as to be the whirlwind. But at the same time, there’s an effort afoot to slow down and control the whirlwind.

Twitter

Social Media Continues its Relentless Pace to Try to Make You Stay Put
English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Case in point: Twitter‘s recent changes are designed to keep people on as long as possible. They do this by embedding media more directly and making it so that you don’t have to leave Twitter’s embrace in order to enjoy a clip or a photograph. So far, so good. But shortened URLs allow for more malware exploits. It’s like one step forward, a step back and another one to the side.

Facebook

Facebook, yet again, looks to change its layout. The profile is going to become richer and provide more information. This may or may not be useful to users but it will certainly keep them on longer. At least, that will happen in the beginning, when it’s a novel concept.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn tried adding Signal to make it easier to track even more of the social media avalanche – and, of course, to try to keep people on LinkedIn as long as possible.

What these changes have in common, other than, perhaps, novelty for the sake of novelty, is the desire to keep people on site as long as possible. Put some tar down, and have us all stick, at least for a while.

So while the internet spins ever faster, and social media sites attempt to keep up, their overall strategies seem to try to slow us all down. Will it work? Is it a foolish dream to think you can keep people around with such tricks, such slick bells and whistles?

Lack of Content

What disturbs me is that there’s not a lot of content happening. And it would, could, should make me want to hang around. Instead of hiring writers to improve things, or rewarding good current content providers, each of the big three sites is instead pursuing a software solution. But what’s the sense in hanging around a site if the content isn’t compelling? Or are we, instead, merely getting the sites that we, perhaps, deserve?

Hence here’s what happens if my Facebook friends list is dominated by people I went to High School with over thirty years ago. Their status updates and my wall are dominated by news of their birthdays, their children and their careers. But isn’t that what’s to be expected? And if I instead tip my list in a different direction, and it’s suddenly dominated by the people I work with or diet with or do artwork with, the news is going to be different.

Comparison to Reality TV

One thing about Reality TV is that it’s anything but real if it’s at all successful. Because people just, generally, don’t lead terribly interesting lives (yes, you too, gentle reader). We pick up the dry cleaning. Or we bicker over the remote. We forget to buy sausages and make do with hot dogs. And around and around and around we go. And all three of the big social media sites, when we are not following celebrities and businesses, are really just a big agglomeration of Post-It Notes whereby we tell each other to grab milk on the way home. For “Reality” to be compelling at all, it’s got to be unreal, and scripted. It must be turned into this fight or that rose ceremony or this other weird pancake-making challenge.

The big three social media sites, when you strip away the celebrities and the companies, can be a boatload of errands or a standard-form holiday letter. You know the kind, where you’re told little Suzie has taken up the clarinet. Over and over ad infinitum.

No wonder we need software solutions to keep us there. The relentless pace continues.

Demographics for Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest

Demographics for Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest

Demographics change over time. Hence the specific numeric percentages could be off, but the gist of these measurements remains on target. Part of this has to do with crowds. If a platform already caters to your demographic, you are probably going to be more interested in it than in a platform that does not.

At Agile Impact, Hilary Heino compiled some impressive statistics about who really uses these image-based social media platforms.

Tumblr

First of all, Tumblr reportedly has loyal users highly dedicated to the site.

And two-thirds of all users are under the age of 35. In addition, nearly forty percent have not yet seen 25 summers.

Finally, there are about 300 million monthly unique users; the site grew by 74 percent in 2013.

Pinterest

Demographics
English: Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, as of July of 2013, there were 46.9 million unique monthly users. And women continue to dominate the platform; around a third of all women online have Pinterest accounts. In addition, two-thirds of all Pinterest users are over the age of 35, making it a near opposite to Tumblr.

Furthermore, a good three-quarters of its traffic comes through mobile apps. Hence if you post to Pinterest, make sure that your content is visible, clear, and comprehensible on smart phones. Finally, 80 percent of total Pinterest pins are repins. It’s probably the sign of a strong community. In addition, the site boasts 2.5 billion monthly pageviews.

Instagram

So with 150 million active users, Instagram reports 1.2 billion daily likes.

Demographics
Instagram-logo (Photo credit: JAMoutinho ( almost photographer ))

And 18% of smartphone users in the 30 – 49 demographic report using it. However, the majority of users are teens and young adults.

Furthermore, the site ties with Facebook as being the second-most popular site for teens. Yet Twitter is the first for that age demographic.

So know your image-based social platforms. Because they are not the same!

The Conquest of LinkedIn – Your Profile Page

The Conquest of LinkedIn – Your Profile Page

What’s with your Profile Page?

You’re doing it. And you’ve got your resume up. You’re answering questions. And you’re joining groups. You’re even meeting people offline. But you aren’t getting an enormous number of invitations to connect.

LinkedIn Profile Page
LinkedIn (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

Or, perhaps, you’re blogging and tweeting. But you’re not getting a lot of readers in either medium. And you’d love to get some of your LinkedIn buddies to read some of your stuff. Maybe you want to use your writing and social media skills as a part of your overall job search strategy.

So the most obvious place to look, and to fix, is your Profile page.

Just like with a resume, a news story, or even if you were trying to sell your home, it pays to spruce up the first thing people see. Hence special care should be taken, as this is your first (and it may very well be your only) chance to make an impression. There are any number of things you can do to assure that this impression is a positive one.

Driving Traffic

And, you can even use it to help you drive a little traffic to your own website and/or blog. Here’s how:

  • Make sure that you make use of all available fields, and customize these as you are able.
  • Next, list your blog.
  • and I also recommend adding Twitter.

So assuming that your resume has been integrated in its entirety, your next task should be to update the summary and specialties sections in your profile page. First of all, the specialties section is essentially just for keywords, so load them up. However, the summary section should be more grammatical. So don’t make it an old-fashioned and generic personal statement. Instead, highlight your main differences here.

Finally, with a little polish, your front door (profile page) can look mighty inviting to all.

Next: Groups and Answers.

Responding to Facebook’s Organic Reach Decline

Responding to Facebook’s Organic Reach Decline

Responding to Facebook’s Organic Reach Decline – Facebook’s organic reach is going down. That is, fewer people are seeing your posts (unless you cough up some dough). What to do?

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...
Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Social Media Today’s Pam Dyer has the scoop on how to respond.

In 2012, Facebook restricted brand content reach to around 16%. In 2014, the figure plummeted to just about a dismal 6%.

According to Dyer, “No one really knows for sure how Facebook decides what appears in news feeds, but some elements are well known as weighting factors:

  • Post types that receive the most user interaction
  • Posts that users hide or report as spam
  • How a user interacts with Facebook ads
  • The device that is used to access Facebook and the speed of its connection”

EdgeRank has less importance than it had, but it’s not quite gone from the mix. It consists of –

  • “Affinity: The closeness of the relationship between the user and the content/source
  • Weight: The action that was taken on the content
  • Decay: The freshness of the content”

Dyer lays out four steps.

  1. Optimize Facebook content. Test what’s working, and what isn’t.  What are people clicking on? And are they clicking through to your site? Look at Google Analytics for your site, and determine which content is the source for your Facebook-generated traffic.
  2. Create incentives for sharing content. Whether that’s offers, contents, or just can-you-believe-this types of posts, create the kind of content that people want to spread to their peers.
  3. Work a multi-network campaign strategy. Use hashtags; they show up in all sorts of places, and not necessarily on Facebook.  Put your hashtag in all of your promotions, e. g. blogs, television commercials, literature, etc.
  4. Track data, and act on it accordingly! What’s happening with your links? Where is your audience coming from? Dovetailing with step #1, be the company that knows where your traffic is really coming from. Know where your audience is clicking.

Knowledge is power.

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Facebook to Allow Users to Login with Less Info

Facebook to Allow Users to Login with Less Info

According to The Boston Globe,  Facebook announced in late April that, “its 1.3 billion users would soon be able to limit the information they reveal to other websites or mobile applications when they log in through their Facebook identities.”

Facebook
Facebook (Photo credit: Scott Beale)

The idea behind this move is to address users’ concerns about revealing their personal data just to check out a website.

The enormous social networking site is also considering making it possible for users to log into other sites anonymously.  That is, the login would be anonymous to the other site, but not to Facebook. Because, of course, Facebook wants to gather (presumably) anonymous data for the purpose of aggregating it and better understanding user behavior.

One of the reasons why Facebook has grown so enormous (1.3 billion users) is because it reveals such intimate details to online businesses. Likes are routinely scanned. Birth dates are revealed. Even photos and friend lists are sometimes shared with outside businesses. The aggregation of quantitative data (we are studying this at Quinnipiac, in ICM 524,  which is the Social Media Analytics class) is vital to any number of sites understanding people’s behavior on the web.

The truth is, any person who believes that any of their clicks are not being counted, timed, compared, or otherwise measured is in for a real surprise. They are.  And this is not necessarily any sort of a bad thing, I might add. For data to be best understood, there really does need to be an awful lot of it. And what better site to bring a lot of data than the behemoth itself, Facebook?

Caveat clicker.

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Companies to Pay $1M for Facebook Video Ads

Companies to Pay $1M for Facebook Video Ads

Facebook Video Ads. According to Boston.com,  companies interested in creating video advertisements on Facebook will need to not only pay about a million dollars per day, they will also have to pass Facebook’s creative team’s vetting.

If Facebook is going to blast a video ad to a significant subset of its 1.3 billion users on a daily basis, they want the ads to be artistically meritorious.  The Facebook video ads will automatically play, but they will do so without sound.

Metrics will be apparently available for advertisers (and they certainly should be there, for that kind of price tag!).

For that sort of exposure, the price tag may very well seem reasonable to a large corporation looking to make a splash. Consider the cost of Super Bowl advertisements. Bleacher Report claims that a 30 second spot in 2014 went for four million dollars.  However, only about 111 million people were expected to tune into the 2014 Super Bowl.

Facebook has over ten times as many users as the Super Bowl has viewers.  However, they would not all be served the same video ads. But this is not a problem.  Even assuming the same number of viewers as in the Super Bowl (which would be about eight and one-half percent of the total number of Facebook users), Facebook’s cost is still only one quarter of that for advertising a 30 second spot at the Super Bowl.

Is it worth it? Companies will need to carefully measure not only clickstream data, but they will (or at least they should be) closely monitoring conversions.

If your company had that kind of money, and that level of creativity, would YOU recommend video ads on Facebook?

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Quinnipiac Assignment #6 – Social Listening

Social Listening

Social Listening

Quinnipiac Assignment #6 (Social Media Platforms) was all about social listening. So, what better thing to listen to than a rock band looking to hit it big?

Social listening is, essentially, the act of getting onto various social media platforms and just getting the lay of the land, as it were. I think that most people are inclined to just jump into the deep end. The problem with that sort of behavior is that it has no strategy behind it whatsoever. Furthermore, it is a way to commit all sorts of social (media) gaffes.

The truth is, when I first got into Twitter, Facebook, and blogging, I jumped in completely and utterly without thinking. In retrospect, that was rather foolish and impulsive. These days, I spend some time in the attempt to correct and repair some of the damage that that sort of non-strategy did to my online social media reputation.

This is not to say that things are so awful online. Not by any stretch of the imagination – the real problem is that I cannot seem to be able to take things to the next level. Hence, beyond attaining Social Media Certification (and possibly getting my Masters’ Degree in Communications with a Social Media concentration), I also want to learn how to handle myself better on social media. I probably have forums covered. But I could certainly use some help with Twitter and the like.

I had also never really gotten the hang of Google+.  Like a lot of people, the idea of dealing with yet another social network not only mystified me, it downright annoyed me. But social listening helped to get me to realize that there is a purpose to Google+ and that it is a different one from Facebook.

Oh, and here’s Rock ‘n Roll Predator by J-Krak (with much better sound than what I played in my video) –

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Shift in Twitter Trends Between 2009 and 2010

Shift in Twitter Trends Between 2009 and 2010

The above two pie charts are a compilation of the rank and duration of every single topic that pops up on Twitter’s global Trending Topics chart throughout the year. That means, by definition, that smaller topics which, if taken in aggregate might actually turn out to be significant, aren’t given their due. No matter. It’s still fascinating information.

What interests me is how hashtags have pretty much replaced entertainment (although entertainment is still rather large in the overall scheme of things) as a major player. Holidays and politics both got less important. Social Media started to show up as a player. Sports and business tech were both diminished.

What the heck does it all mean?

Well, I’d be lying if I said I absolutely, positively knew for sure. But I suspect that the trending may have to do with (a) more people “discovering” Twitter and (b) more people understanding it and engaging with it. That is, instead of people just following celebrities and reading (and potentially also just retweeting) their tweets, it appears that people may be actually — huzzah! — making their own content.

And — the content they’re making seems to be a bit more meaningful than just “Merry Christmas” or “Let’s go Patriots!” (no disparagement to the Patriots or the Christmas season intended, of course). It looks like it might actually be the promotion of offsite material (e. g. blogging hashtags), attempts to use Twitter to update other social media sites (e. g. you can set up your LinkedIn account so that, if you use the #in hashtag, it updates your LinkedIn status) or just an effort to bring certain information to the attention of other people. After all, whenever I write about robots for Neuron Robotics, I use a #robots or #robotics hashtag.

Hence people seem to be using Twitter more to its potential, as both an ad hoc type of community and a means of cross-pollinating other social media sites. Let’s see what happens this year.

For more information, see the January 12, 2011 blog post on Social Media Today.

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